Have you ever been in a situation where you imagine outdoing something but fell behind? I have! I learned the Armenian vocabulary and thought to impress the Armenian people, but everything drained down the hole the moment I tried to engage in a conversation. Why? Because I did not know the basic grammar of that language, like the parts of speech or even Armenian pronouns.
Do you want to engage and impress native speakers with your Armenian language skills? You should first get the gist and basic comprehension skills of Armenian grammar like pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. This article will tell you about the pronouns and the types used in colloquial Armenian so that you may save your face while engaging in a conversation.
The Armenian language has got a long history of spoken and written literary tradition and has evolved through various stages and forms like classical Armenian, middle Armenian, and modern Armenian.
The current Armenian, i.e. modern Armenian, was canonized in the 19th century giving rise to two branches, i.e. modern western Armenian (spoken in Armenia) and modern eastern Armenian (the dialect of Armenian diaspora).
A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun, be it a place, person or thing, and a noun can be a subject or an object.
դերանուններ (deranunner); pronouns play a vital role in the structure of the language; thus, knowing and understanding the pronouns is crucial to understanding and learning the Armenian grammar and, therefore, the language. As you use your Armenian vocabulary, only then do you know how to structure sentences.
The subjects or pronouns of the sentence can be inferred from the conjugation of a verb in such sentences or the contexts.
Types Of Pronouns
Like English and any other language, Armenian pronouns can be categorized into several types, which include personal pronouns, reflexive pronouns, intensive pronouns, possessive pronouns, reciprocal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, definite pronouns, interrogative pronouns, indefinite pronouns, and relative pronouns, etc. Here we will learn about the most common ones.
Personal pronouns are defined as the words used in place of a person. The person can be the speaker, the one spoken to or even spoken about.
The personal pronouns in Armenian include Ես (Es); I, դու (dow); you and նա (na); he/she/it for singular while Մենք (menk); we, դուք (dowk); you, and նրանք (nrank); they for plural forms.
These pronouns mostly take place of a subject or direct objects (like jobs, etc.) as these are used in place of subject nouns. However, they do sometimes take the place of things, especially indirect objects.
The pronouns for indirect objects are ինձ (ind); me, քեզ (qez); you, and իգական սեռի համար(igakan ser’i hamar); him/her for singular objects and մեզ (mez);us, Ձեզ (qez); you, and նրանց (mranc); them for the plurals and therefore are known as indirect object pronouns.
The pronouns which are used to show possession are known as possessive pronouns. The most common possessive pronoun forms in the Armenian language include
- իմ (im); my
- ձեր (d’er); your
- նրա (nra); his
- նրա (nra);her
- մեր (mer); our
- նրանց (nranc); their
- իմը (imy); mine
- քոնը (qony); yours
- նրանը (nrany); his
- իրըiry (iry); hers
- մերը (mery); ours
- նրանցը (nrancy); theirs.
Armenian possessive forms of pronouns have unique conditions for first and second persons, while no definite form for the third person pronouns. Meaning that first and second person pronouns are marked, the third person possessive pronoun remains unmarked.
The modern Armenian takes the inflected case by adding suffixes from the old/classical Armenian as possessive suffixes for first and second person pronouns and the definite article suffix for 3rd person.
These pronouns are used to refer to specific objects. Demonstrative pronouns also indicate the location of those objects. The most common examples of demonstrative pronouns are
- Այս (ays) – this,
- Այն (ayn) – that,
- Սրանք (srank) – these
- Դրանք (drank) – those
Some other pronouns, generally categorized as definite pronouns in English, are treated as demonstrative in the Armenian language. The examples include the different, this many, this much, the same, here, there, over there, etc.
Like many other parts of speech, Armenian demonstrative pronouns change according to the case, i.e. nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, instrumental, and locative.
Take the example of Մյուսն (myusn) – the other one which changes according to the case like Մյուսն (nominative), մյուսի (genitive), մյուսին (dative), մյուսը (accusative), մյուսից (ablative), մյուսով (instrumental), and մյուսում (locative).
A pronoun that indicates a reciprocal relationship in a sentence, i.e., one person acts on another and receives the same action in return, is known as a reciprocal pronoun. The most common reciprocal pronouns are միմեանս (mimeans); each other and իրեարս (irears); one another. Both of these pronouns exist in plural forms only.
Like demonstrative pronouns, reciprocal pronouns have declension case variations, the declensions for միմեանս (mimeans); each other are միմեանս (nominative), միմեանս (accusative), միմեանց (genitive), միմեանց (dative), միմեանս (locative), միմեանց (ablative), and միմեամբք (instrumental).
Similarly, the declension cases for իրեարս (irears); one include իրեարս (nominative), իրեարս (accusative), իրերաց (genitive), իրերաց (dative), իրեարս (locative), իրերաց (ablative), and իրերաւք (instrumental).
A pronoun that does not possess a familiar or known referent i.e. does not explicitly identify what it is referring to, is known as an indefinite pronoun. Some Armenian indefinite pronouns change according to the case while others do not; thus, In Armenian, these pronouns can be divided into two categories.
Someone, something, anyone, anything, another, a few, one, etc., are the pronouns that change according to the case. For example some declension types of this pronoun are
- ինչ-որ մեկը (inch for meky); someone,
- ինչ-որ մեկին (dative),
- ինչ-որ մեկը (nominative),
- ինչ-որ մեկի (genitive),
- ինչ-որ մեկից (ablative),
- ինչ-որ մեկը (accusative),
- ինչ-որ մեկով (instrumental),
- ինչ-որ մեկիմեշ (locative).
Some other indefinite pronouns do not change according to the case, and examples include
- որոշ (vorosh); some
- որևէ (voreve); any
- այլ (ayl); other
- երբևէ (yerbeve); never
The relative pronoun takes the form of an interrogative pronoun and thus has no distinct record but performs the function of relating the parts of a sentence like phrases and clauses.
There are two forms of relative pronouns, i.e. attributive relative and substantive relative. To understand the usage of both states, it is essential to learn the difference between relative clauses, i.e. the attributive relative clause and the substantive relative clause.
Learn how to make different Armenian sentences and crack the Armenian proverbs.
The attributive clause performs the attributive function, i.e. the function of an adjective as it describes the antecedent noun, while the substantive clause replaces a noun; thus, the clause acts as subject/object or noun.
The difference, depending upon the type of clause used, exists between the two types of relative pronouns as որ is the pronoun for attributive clause while the substantive clauses take ով (ov); who as relative pronoun for persons, որ( vor); that, զինչ ( zinch); what for things.
Interrogative pronouns refer to the words used to ask a question about something. These are written with a question mark. Interrogative pronouns in Armenian include
- Ի՞Նչ (inch); what
- Ո՞վ/ովքե՞ր (vov); who
- Որտե՞ղ (vortegh), Ո՞ր (vor); which
- Ե՞րբ (yerb); when
- Ինչու՞ (inchu); why
- Ինչպե՞ս (inchpes); how,
- Ինչպիսի՞ (inchpisi); what kind of, etc.
An interesting aspect that questions in the Armenian language has different from English is that in Armenian, questions are the same statements as those of affirmative sentences but the intonation changes, which categorizes the statement as a question.
The exact words or pronouns are used in relative or interrogative pronouns, but the difference is that relative pronouns do not house the question mark and interrogative intonation.
The Interrogative performs one of many functions like quantity, quality, method, purpose, time, cause, and location.
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